BILBAO, SPAIN. This Bilbao cultural center is a great visit, with interesting design and architecture. It is located in a former wine warehouse that was declared an area of cultural interest by the Basque government in 1999.
The building was designed by the Bilbao architect Ricardo Bastida, and was completed in 1909. It was then abandoned in the 70s, and the Basque government debated what to do with it. The famous designer Philippe Starck visited the building, fell in love with it, and ended up designing the interior. The building then opened for public use in 2010. The space was made to project the multicultural reality of Bilbao, and it hopes to spark dialogue on this subject through workshops, art exhibitions, and performances.
The building has a library, gymnasium (which has an indoor pool), movie theatre, art exhibitions, auditorium, shops, cafés, and restaurants. You walk into a large middle space with two buildings adjourning this indoor plaza. Columns, of all different designs, hold up these two buildings, allowing you to walk under them and sit on lit up benches.
I visited the exhibit “Llora Cuando te Pase. Laida Lertxundi” which will be at the Alhóndiga from February 27th to May 18th 2014. The exhibit features the films of Laida Lertxundi in awesome, small, environment-creating theatres. The films are mostly shot in Southern California and feature Lertxundi’s friends who explore these environments. These short films seem very experimental, with no narrative (usually) and strange image and sound editing. These films take film abstraction to an interesting level with inventive subject material and untraditional editing, with repetitious images and unique sound and image mixing. The theatres in watch the films are equally interesting. One small theatre is in the wooden outline of a house, and you sit on tree stumps.
This is a good visit after the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao or Museo de Bellas Artes Bilbao. Like everything in Bilbao, it is very easy to walk to. It is interesting to check out, and it’s free. Because of its library, it is a great place to do work.
La Alhóndiga Bilbao
Plaza Arriquibar, 4
48010 Bilbao, Bizkaia
Tel. 944 014 014
Hours: Mon to Fri 7:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sat to Sun 8:30 am – 11:00 pm